Children’s Firefighting Drill
As an ex-pat, it’s easy for me to be completely confused about what everybody else takes for granted.
Take, for example, the large metal red and white box at the end of the schoolyard. When we first moved here, I asked my husband what it was for. “To hold water for the firefighters,” he replied, and then we got distracted by something else.
I thought of various reasons why that box would be there and occasionally saw a firetruck go into the schoolyard, but didn’t pursue what exactly it was all about. Was there an underground cistern or source of water? Did they need to keep extra water by the school for safety? SIX years later, I finally know.
Yesterday I was out walking with the children in front of the school when the firetruck went by, full of kids. We followed it, the twins quite excited by the big noisy (stinky) truck.
A gaggle of kids and a handful of adults set up a pump and pulled out some hose. “Is this a kruzok (optional school subject)?” I asked a mom watching. She looked a little confused and her answer didn’t help someone who didn’t have a clue.
When my husband finally joined us, he explained it to me, surprised that his answer years before hadn’t been sufficient because, of course, everybody knows.
Apparently it’s in every town in Slovakia, though it seems to be waning in popularity. Children learn how to set up a water pump and fire hose, and then go to competitions. That big metal box? They fill it with water from the fire truck to pump the water from.
After getting it ready, the children lined up. Ready, set, go! Each person had a job, from dragging a piece of hose to turning on the pump. Faster, faster, run! First they practiced dry, rolling up the hose each time and disconnecting other pipes. After a few dry runs, they turned on the water which, of course, was much more fun.
After nine years of living in this country, I’m still learning new things about it! I particularly enjoyed the firetruck.
What have you been surprised by in other countries?
Jun 03, 2014 @ 22:56:42
What a cool story! Totally enjoying reading these. 🙂
Jun 04, 2014 @ 09:34:22
I’m so glad you enjoy them!
Jun 04, 2014 @ 11:35:54
That’s the way to have a fire drill! Not the subtle message that we have in Canada: you’re a helpless sheep, at the sound of the bell you will flock calmly to the driveway, where Government employees will take care of you while you wait patiently.
No! Kids will fight this one! It’s like the ending of Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang. Really cool!
Jun 06, 2014 @ 08:59:21
What I enjoyed was the lack of over concerned ‘safety’. I’m all about safety, but sometimes, particularly in N. America, it can become considering everything that could possibly go wrong and trying to prevent it. Some of the kids rode in the fire truck, and while everybody had a spot, I’m guessing there wasn’t any seatbelts (not that they went over 30km/hr).
Apr 02, 2016 @ 20:27:01
In fact, there is a bigger tradition behind this event. In Slovakia there are two types of firefighters, first are professional governement employees which have similar position like state police officers, it’s their fulltime job and they have modern equipment. Other group are volunteer firefighters, usually present in villages and small towns. Firefighting drills is their hobby and they even organize competitions. One part of their work is working with children, presenting their job with hope, that some of them will become volunteers when they grow up.
Btw, that’s the reason their equipment (firetruck) looks quite outdated, because usually they will get it as a gift from professionals when it’s retired.
Apr 04, 2016 @ 10:40:49
Yay for volunteer firefighters! Our town was recently given a new firetruck, but they use the old one for working with children. Although I don’t know if they had the new truck already when I took these pictures. At any rate, the old truck gives more ambience to the photos 🙂